7.6/10
31,640
355 user 66 critic

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Comedy | 2 December 1963 (UK)
The dying words of a thief spark a madcap cross-country rush to find some treasure.

Director:

Writers:

(story), (story) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
1,938 ( 1,258)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Biplane Pilot
Edit

Storyline

After a long prison sentence Smiler Grogan is heading at high speed to a California park where he hid $350,000 from a job 15 years previously. He accidentally careens over a cliff in view of four cars whose occupants go down to help. The dying Grogan gives details of where the money is buried and when the witnesses fail to agree on sharing the cash, a crazy chase develops across the state. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Everybody who's ever been funny is in it! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 December 1963 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

It's a Mad World  »

Box Office

Budget:

$9,400,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$46,300,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(edited) | (restored video) | (extended re-edit) (Laserdisc) | (original) | (roadshow) | (extended)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System) (35mm prints)| (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.76 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Besides supervising all stunts, Carey Loftin was the stunt double for Terry-Thomas. As a joke, he showed up on set with one of his teeth painted black to simulate the gap in Thomas' bridge. See more »

Goofs

When the Sgt. is updating Culpepper on the characters' progress, he mentions the Crumps set off the fireworks in the hardware store's basement. There is no way he could have known that. See more »

Quotes

Capt. T.G. Culpeper: [into a phone] Ginger, I want you to prepare yourself for a little shock. When I tell you what happened...
Ginger Culpeper: [voice] So, tell me, tell me. I've got this biscuit dough...
Capt. T.G. Culpeper: The Smiler Grogan case is solved!
Ginger Culpeper: The WHAT? Now, what the hell is the Smiler Grogan case?
Capt. T.G. Culpeper: The tuna factory robbery! The case I've been talking about for the last fifteen years!
See more »

Crazy Credits

After Spencer Tracy's credit has been shown, the words "and in alphabetical order" appear, and the next group of credits is assembled below them by animated hands: Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Dick Shawn, Phil Silvers, Terry-Thomas, and Jonathan Winters. But after a moment, the hands reappear to pull out Silvers' credit and move it to the top, then Winters', then Caesar's, and so on until everyone has had had a turn at top billing in the group. The hands then quickly shuffle the credits several more times for good measure, all the time with the "and in alphabetical order" label still in place. The final order is Silvers, Rooney, Berle, Winters, Merman, Hackett, Terry-Thomas, Caesar, Shawn. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jack of All Trades: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Opera (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
(1963) (uncredited)
Music by Ernest Gold
Lyrics by Mack David
Sung by an offscreen chorus during the Overture
Variations in the score throughout the film
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A King With a Hundred Jesters
2 December 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World has to be the funniest film ever made because no one, but Stanley Kramer ever got so many funny people together in one film. With a cast headed by his favorite dramatic player to boot.

Four out of Spencer Tracy's last five films were made for Stanley Kramer. The others, Inherit the Wind, Judgment at Nuremberg, and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner dealt with weighty issues like, free speech, genocide, and interracial marriage. What It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World deals with is greed, simple normal human greed. If something looks too good to be true, chances are it is.

Jimmy Durante an old time crook crashes off a highway and down a steep cliff. He's on the way to digging up the loot from a $350,000.00 robbery from years ago. His dying words tell those people went to aid him where in Santa Rosita Park the loot is buried. Off the group of them go, every man and woman for themselves, with some alliances of family and convenience. A few more treasure seekers get picked up along the way.

That barebones plot description doesn't begin to tell you about some of the funny sequences that follow, Buddy Hackett and Mickey Rooney in a private plane with a drunken pilot Jim Backus passed out, Edie Adams and Sid Caesar trapped in a hardware store desperately trying to get out, Jonathan Winters as the lunkhead truck driver generally running amuck wherever he goes, and Milton Berle the henpecked husband of all time married to the beautiful Dorothy Provine, her braindead brother Dick Shawn and Ethel Merman the mother-in-law from hell. Berle has a package deal and when you watch the film, you'll see what I mean.

Along the way, the treasure hunters pick up Terry-Thomas, Phil Silvers, Peter Falk and Eddie Anderson. And they leave a whole lot of some of the best character actors and comedians who each in their own way contributes a certain specialty they're famous for.

There are two unbilled appearances by Jack Benny and Jerry Lewis each in situations that show off their peculiar style of comedy.

Watching it all is Spencer Tracy as the Captain of Detectives of the Santa Rosita, Police Department both before the camera and between takes. I remember seeing a quotation by Stanley Kramer that with all these comedians on the set, Tracy was like a king with a hundred jesters, each looking to amuse him. Tracy besides keeping track of this freak show has some domestic problems of his own which are told in telephone conversations with the city pension bureau, his wife, and his daughter. Tracy's expressions are priceless.

My favorite in this film has always been Ethel Merman. Mainly because I know someone back in Brooklyn named Gladys who's exactly like Ethel is here right down to the flaming red hair. I haven't lived in Brooklyn for nine years now, but reports I get say she hasn't changed. I can't watch this film and see Merman without thinking of dear Gladys and the schlump that married her.

It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World is about greed, yet greed has never been presented with such rip roaring humor as it is in this film. For those who need a good laugh and who in this world doesn't.


62 of 75 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?